PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Martin Kaymer produced one of the most unlikely pars on the 17th green at the TPC Sawgrass without ever going in the water. It carried him to a one-shot victory Sunday in The Players Championship that was emotional in so many ways.
Kaymer nearly blew a three-shot lead after a 90-minute rain delay until he holed a 30-foot par putt on the famous island green. He got up-and-down with his putter from short of the 18th green for par and a 1-under 71.
Jim Furyk closed with a 66 — he had to wait after the rain delay to rap in a 3-foot par putt — and it looked as though it might be enough to force a playoff, or even win when the 29-year-old German began to crumble.
The typical stress that Sawgrass brings on Sunday was contained to the final hour, and it was almost more than Kaymer could take. He made double bogey from an aggressive play behind a pine tree on the 15th, and nervously chose putter from a collection area on the par-5 16th that cost him a chance at birdie.
Nothing could top the 17th hole, the most exciting on the Stadium Course.
Kaymer had a one-shot lead. His tee shot cleared the water and landed on a mound just over the bunker, but it mysteriously spun hard back toward the front of the green and looked as if it might go into the water until it settled into the clumpy collar a foot from the bulkhead. His chip was weak, and he still had 30 feet down a ridge with a sharp swing to the right. He made the putt, pumping his fist in a rare show of emotion.
A former world No. 1 and major champion, Kaymer nearly choked up when asked about winning on Mother’s Day. His mother, Rina, died of cancer in 2008 shortly after Kaymer won the BMW International Open in Germany.
Kaymer finished at 13-under 275 and earned $1.8 million.
Sergio Garcia closed with a 70 to finish alone in third at 11 under.
Jordan Spieth, the 20-year-old Texan tied with Kaymer going into the final round, made his first bogey of the tournament on the fifth hole, and plenty more followed. He finished with a 74 to tie for fourth with Justin Rose (69) at 10 under.
SANTO DA SERRA, Madeira Islands — England’s Daniel Brooks won a playoff in the Madeira Islands Open, the fog-shortened tournament overshadowed by the death of a caddie.
Brooks closed with a 5-under 67 and beat Scotland’s Scott Henry with a par on the first extra hole. Henry finished with a 68 to match Brooks at 9-under 135.